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Full text of "The making of the finest piano in the world"


ines 




THE 



MAKING OF THE 



PIANO IN THE 



WORLD 






2 



"IN THE ELDER DAYS OF ART, BUILDERS WROUGHT WITH GREATEST CARE 
EACH MINUTE AND UNSEEN PART, FOR THE GODS SEE EVERYWHERE" 

' ' The Builders ' ' — Longfellow 

Thus were the ancient Greek artisans guided in their work. Nothing was considered unworthy of the utmost 
they could provide in skill and completeness of approach. Nowhere was there a detail that could be passed 
over lightly in a formula that demanded perfection everywhere, This exalted conception in the creation 
of a work of art is seen anew in the making of the Mason & Hamlin of today. Not, however, 
with the object of pleasing the penetrating eye of the gods of Olympus but with the sole 
desire to create the noblest and finest pianoforte the world has ever known. 



Made in the Atmosphere 

THE building where the Mason & Hamlin is made 
is not a factory in the ordinary sense. To be sure 
one will find there the marvelous machinery 
and the scientific methods of discovering the vibrant 
quality of woods, the tensile strength of wire, the 
density or resisting power of this or that material which, 
wrought into its appointed form by skilled hands, takes 
its place as a part of the Mason & Hamlin, but the 
atmosphere of the sunny rooms of this building is that 
of a great laboratory or studio where an organization 
of craftsmen perform their daily tasks with a devotion 
and pride that finds but few parallels in modern 
industry. 

The men who make the Mason & Hamlin are 



of a Great Studio Laboratory 

passionate seekers of perfection. It is not incongruous 
to say that it is the product of a concept of art as pure 
and lofty as has ever been brought to the creation of 
any other masterpiece. 

The oldest, active worker in years of service 
has devoted over forty years of his life to the 
building of these instruments. Many others, now 
at the heads of their respective departments, have 
served in the manufacture of fine pianos previous 
to joining the Mason & Hamlin family, essential 
to a continued vitality for the future, who 
have acquired, through close association, the 
high ideals and intensive knowledge of these 
veteran artisans. 



5 






Peter Mohr and Allen Harrah with the original Mason & Hamlin blueprints and pattern. 

AKIN TO THE STRADIVARIUS VIOLIN 
IN THE NOBILITY OF ITS CONCEPTION 

The /Mason $c Hamlin has been called ' The Stradivarius of Pianos/ ' Ant onio Stradivari made violins in Cremona, 
Italy, two hundred years ago. He brought his delicate craft to the highest point of perfection and his instruments 
became the standard by which all subsequent efforts in violin making are judged. The Stradivarius violins existing 
today are in the hands of the greatest masters of their art. Treasured beyond price, each one is known for its 
individual and transcendent beauty of tone and construction. ([ There is unquestionably an analogy between 
the Alason &: Hamlin and the creations of the immortal violin maker of Cremona. Both are the 
creation of master builders of noblest idea Is. Both have attained an uncompanioncd pinnacle 
of perfection. The Stradivarius violins are the finest known. The Mason & H am lin is 
what its creators plan it to be, the most magnificent piano in the world. 



PIANO manufacture is not an exact science. In the 
making of fine pianos scientific knowledge, while 
essential, carries the operation only so far. Beyond 
that the maker is dealing in art, and it is the art of the 
individual Hence in the making of the Mason & Hamlin 
the personal equation is all important. There are in- 
dividuals of long experience and thoroughly trained in 
those peculiar processes and methods that are responsi- 
ble for the individual tone quality that has won this great 
piano its fame. 

In the manufacture of the Mason & Hamlin there are 
an infinite numher of details each one of which has a 



hearing upon the tone result. All of these details are inter- 
related, each assuring a form and substance, so to speak, 
important to the result only when fitting the form and 
substance of other details. While the scale of a piano is 
a highly important basic factor in the tone result the scale 
is only the foundation. It is the subject and outline of the 
picture upon which the individual artist must spread his 
pigment to produce the tone colors he desires 

That piano making is an art is proven by the fact that 
it is no more possible to copy a fine piano, and get the 
same tone result, than it is to copy the work, of a 



i 



great artist with a perfection that is beyond detection by 
experts. 

It is important to realize that the Mason & Hamlin is 
a work of art which is not prohibitive in price, only 
because of the happy circumstance that those who created 
it are able to duplicate it. And this process continued over 
a period of years is duplication only in the sense that each 
piano represents the supreme effort of a group of sincere 
craftsmen. 

The continuation of such effort naturally results in im- 
provement, constant progress toward that goal of every 
sincere artisan who builds for quality and durability 
regardless of cost — the goal of perfection. 

+ +■ -i- 

'~p/^v"\ TT? Every piano has a soundboard. Its func- 
J- V-^-LN Lj ti on i s t o receive and amplify 
vibrations of the strings when the instrument is played. 
All soundboards do this more or less effectively. The 
design and construction of a soundboard system may be 
simple or difficult according to the results demanded. 
Mediocrity is easily obtained. In seeking perfection, 
however, there must be minute attention to the subtlest 
detail regardless of cost in time or effort. 

Perfection and beauty of tone depend not alone upon 
the correct layout of the stringing of the scale but also 




upon the degree in which the soundboard 
responds to the string vibrations over its entire range. The 
Mason & Hamlin soundboard design is a development of 
many years of painstaking care and scientific findings of 
experienced tonal experts. Rigid specifications cover the 
origin, age and variety of the spruce of which it is made. 
Careful selection determines the choice of wood of pro- 
per color, density and texture. Thoroughly seasoned in 
successive temperature changes, the board is planed, sand- 
ed and tempered to a precise formula until it is ready for 
crowning and the attaching of its ribs and bridges. 

Selection of exactly the proper stock for these ribs and 
bridges, and the scientifically correct method of gluing 
these parts to the board in especially built peneumatic 
presses, the shaping to just the right height and contour, 
hand fitting and mortising, contribute further to the glory 
of the finished product. 

Unseen and covered parts on the underside of the board 
receive the same attention and care in workmanship as 
is given to the most prominent and exposed section. 

Each piano is regarded as an individual task. Limits of 
measurements are definitely set, standards are high, but 
the workmanship is that of the artist-craftsman and not 
that of the routine mass-producer. The result is the sound- 
board of maximum responsiveness and durability 
demanded by Mason & Hamlin standards. 




5 



"Reivarding Labor Bringing to the Artisan a Glowing Sense 
of the Supreme Quality of his Creation" 



z-p x-^j j tj As the pianist touches the keys of the 
1 UULn piano does the tone coming from 
its sonorous body meet his desires and expectations? Are 
his mood and feelings finding complete expression in 
the awakened voice of the instrument? That depends 
upon the responsiveness of that wonderful mechanism 
which transmits the impulse of his fingers to the 
strings— the Action. Excellent though the rest of the 
piano may be. it would be a poor medium of musical 
and poetic expression were its action not equally perfect. 

Developed exclusively for Mason & Hamlin and built 
to their exacting specifications by the most renowned 
German maker, the Renner action is exquisitely adjusted 
to a perfect coordination of every part and is completely 
satisfying to the most exacting and discriminating 
musician. Instant response, limitless power and perfect 
control in the most delicate pianissimo passages are all 
at the command of the performer. 

To hear a Mason & Hamlin is a delight to the musically 
appreciate ear— to play upon it is to experience the 
ultimate in a medium of musical expression. 



CTT? T ~\Tf~ > Q The numan element is a great 
^ J- -CvXlN VJJ factor in this important stage in 
in piano's journey through the factory. Eighty-eight notes 
to be strung, over two hundred and twenty strings to 
be selected, covered and cut by hand and no two exactly 
alike, every one differing from every other in some 
dimensions. Thirty-five changes and combinations of 
wire sizes to be directed to their proper place. Two 
hundred and twenty or more holes to be prepared in 
the rock maple pin block for the tuning pins, to be 
reamed with the greatest accuracy and as many pins to 
be coil wrapped and driven and turned into place. The 
stringer must combine muscular strength and power of 
wrist with extreme sensitiveness of touch for his work 
goes far in the making of Mason & Hamlin durability. 

TMTPP Tf^lT? The interior of tnis 8 reat 

±1\| 1 JJ/IVlv_/iV pj ano consists of several 
units, most of them ultimately concealed within the 
instrument but finished and planned as one of the 
unseen parts described in Longfellow's eloquent lines, 
which must 



6 



reach the same exalted plane of perfection demanded 
in every part of the Mason & Hamlin. Even before any 
finish is applied, every corner and crevice is brought 
to a silky smoothness and every joint is tested and 
inspected. The wood which goes into the various parts 
is chosen from specimens of perfect grain and fibre so 
that it may perfectly fulfill its function in that marvelous 
coordination of parts which is the Mason & Hamlin. 

The Tension Resonator 

This outstanding and exclusive feature invented and 
developed by Mason & Hamlin preserves its glorious 
resonance and beauty of tone after many years of hard 
use — long beyond the average of even many of the best 
pianos. It is a permanent built-in feature and is not 
intended as a means of adjustment at any time in the 
life of the piano. The Tension Resonator is set in place 
and adjusted once for all. It is never touched but is 
working continuously day and night insuring the 
continuation of the piano's original and unforgettable 
beauty. 





7 



"The Criterion of True Beauty is that it Increases 
upon Examination — if False it Lessens' — greville 



rjr i t TT'"V ^ ne b eaut y °f tne Mason & Hamlin 
DLAU X. X is not merely skin deep. The impulse 
behind its making endows every part, seen and unseen, 
with the individual and penetrating beauty that is 
inseparable from a task perfectly performed. The case- 
maker, the man who casts the iron plate, the string- 
winder, see beauty in the finished product that comes 
from their hands. The myriad parts of the action working 
in perfect coordination are beautiful to the action-makers, 
and so throughout every part of the completed 
instrument. 

The exterior beauty of the Mason & Hamlin is seen in 
the graceful lines of its design and the finish of the 
exquisite wood of which its case is made. Whether it be 
one of the catalogue models or the most elaborate period 
design the finish is that of fine wood grown mellow with 
the richness and unclouded beaut}' of grain seen in 
precious old furniture. 



v>V_yl > V^-LU OlwlN every contributing 
detail, however minute, there is found a perfection that 
makes the finished Mason & Hamlin sui generis, (in a class 
by itself) unmatched in the glory of its tone and surpassing 
durability. 

It is a rewarding labor bringing to the artisan a glowing 
sense of the supreme quality of his creation, and to the 
owner of a Mason & Hamlin a security and satisfaction 
in its possession that no other piano can give. 

It is obvious that the makers of the Mason & Hamlin 
must make fewer pianos than other manufacturers. The 
price of the Mason & Hamlin is, determined by the cost 
to produce it. It is a supreme instrument — a piano for 
the connoisseur and it is in the patronage of those whose 
selection is based on their own sure knowledge and 
appreciation that the makers of the Mason & Hamlin find 
their reward. 



Mixson $c lamltn 

35 Duncan St., Haverhill, MA 01830 
Telephone: 508-372-8300 



Printed in U. S. A.